Health authorities said people were disobeying social distancing rules after Cyprus registered its biggest daily jump in new coronavirus cases bringing total infections to 214 plus six deaths since the outbreak.
The number of daily cases more than doubled from 17 on Saturday to 35 the next day.
The Health Ministry said on Sunday one person died from Covid-19, while another 35 tested positive, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 214 (including five in the British Bases) of which 126 were infected in Cyprus.
The sixth person to die in Cyprus was a 68-year-old man hospitalized at Nicosia General Hospital ICU.
So far, five men and one woman, with an age average of 64, have died from Covid-19, four of which had underlying health conditions.
Announcing the spike in new cases, Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Cyprus Dr Leontios Kostrikis, said two had recently come from Europe, 31 had contact with previously diagnosed cases while another two infections were of unknown origin.
He said 18 of the people diagnosed with the virus and hospitalised have recovered.
The 214 cases were confirmed following 6, 447 tests run by the Institute of Neurology and Genetics and the Microbiology Department of the Nicosia General Hospital.
“Case studies show that the virus was transmitted within the family environment of several patients, indicating that unfortunately no social protection measures were taken,” said Kostrikis.
“We all need to understand it makes no sense to confine ourselves at home, then to organise family gatherings, dinner or parties with friends. I repeat, at any moment things can become critical. Every citizen should behave responsibly,” he added.
He said that people who are found positive with COVID-19 need to be very careful not to spread the virus to others.
“If we see that things are getting out of hand, I would not be surprised if the President of Cyprus decided to enforce stricter measures…If we can’t contain the epidemic, then stricter measures will come into force.”
Kostrikis said that it was difficult to predict the trajectory of COVID-19 and he expected more results in the coming days to decide whether we are close to the peak before it flattens out.
Dr Marios Loizou of the State Health Services Organisation (OKYPY) said 26 people were hospitalized at Famagusta General Hospital. Five of them remained at the ICU. Three people were discharged from the hospital.
He said, “people’s daily routines have been significantly disrupted, with fear and uncertainty” now being part of their lives.
Loizou said medical staff working at hospitals were on the frontline fighting the disease.
“The fight waged by hospital personnel, particularly doctors and nurses, is a difficult and dangerous one.”
“We thank them from the bottom of our hearts…it is difficult to fight the invisible and unpredictable every day at work.”
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou issued a statement urging people to observe government restrictions on free movement and to stay at home.
“The large increase in confirmed cases is of particular concern to me as tracking reveals that the virus has been transmitted in a family-friendly environment by individuals who done everything except self-isolate,” said Ioannou’s statement.
“It is unfortunate that we find many cases of people who do not confine themselves and transmit the coronavirus without knowing it.”
“Regrettably, many do not understand the seriousness of the situation and continue to behave irresponsibly.
He said the tracking process helps experts quickly identify the contacts of a confirmed case to prevent it from spreading.
“But for this to make sense, social distancing has to work in reality.”